Six days a week, that boxy little white truck
comes humming down the street
and my heart beats a little faster.
I head down the driveway to the mailbox
(we don’t go many places these days)
in a slow, casual stroll, a wave for the neighbor, or,
if no one’s looking, a flat-out run embodying
that tingle of anticipation, the expectation,
the spark of hope for a Salutation.
There’s the momentary excitement
of making sure the copperheads that live
in the green underbrush aren’t underfoot,
and gently brushing away today’s spiders
before pulling down the metal handle to look
inside. Some days, it’s a little deflating.
There might be a takeout menu from Golden Dragon
or Domino’s. Circulars from the grocery store.
Oversize postcards featuring politicians and
their families, or a sewer bill from the city.
Other days, though, magic!
A cousin sends a card with an old photo tucked inside.
A letter on heavy linen paper comes from a Senator
who agrees to disagree; there’s a thank-you from
someone who lives across town, but took the time
to pen a few lines inside a card
that says, “Thank You” across the front.
Contact lenses arrive in a sturdy box!
There’s the ballot that shows up, on time,
a reminder that democracy might still have a chance.
From a friend across the country there’s a fatly-folded,
handwritten missive in which hopes and dreams,
joys and disappointments are cataloged.
A former co-worker sees a painting at the Met,
thinks of me, sends it in postcard form.
There’s a letter written on lined white paper,
in perfect penmanship, from a man stuck
in the downtown jail, awaiting bail.
It’s worth the spiders, the underbrush and
even the possible copperhead sighting.
And the postage is still a bargain.
Six days a week, in hail or high
water or hellish summer sun,
despite disease or discord,
the world is brought to my mailbox,
transforming what was always necessary
into essential joy.
Adrienne Pilon is a teacher, traveler and writer. She's published here and there.